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Giving Trends – Top 300 Foundations 2014 report

Fascinating morning at the launch of the Association of Charitable Foundations and CASS Business School report on the Top 300 UK Foundations Giving Trends.  It’s an excellent piece of work, but we were struck how much richer and easier the work would be if grant makers published their grants to an open data standard along the lines of #360giving.  A number of speakers from the floor and the platform said that the grant making sector desperately needed more information.  As Jon Cracknell put it:

‘We can’t do our grant making any worse if we know what each other is doing, surely?’

Professor Cathy Pharoah, said:

“Better data on philanthropy is increasingly vital. It helps provide a realistic context for assessing the feasibility of political aspirations for the role of private philanthropy in public welfare provision. We also need to know whether philanthropy is growing at a time of increasing private wealth, but continuing social inequality.”

It was good to hear from Anna de Pulford from Dulverton Trust who is doing some fascinating work on Salesforce for grant management and building a plug in to allow that to export data in the 360giving format.

The report, great work largely by Cathy Pharoah of Cass will be online here shortly.  Here’s a round up of the tweets: 

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Aptivate engaged by #360giving to build data demonstrators and road test data standard

We are going to build some demonstrators to show what can be done with open data about grant making.  Indigo Trust has engaged Aptivate an NGO expert in data manipulation and visualisation to build some demonstrators and in so doing test the draft data standard. Aptivate will use as a base load the hundreds of thousands of grants we have obtained by FOI from Lottery Distributers.

The work will be carried out in two sprints the first sprint will broadly look at gathering the data and converting it into the 360Giving data standard  in a database to learn how well the data standard works. And sharing the experience through blog posts.  Any scripts (small programs) that are written to convert data into the standard will be published so that others might use them, as will the database.

One of the issues we expect to arise from the first sprint is that the rough data we have gathered so far, largely through FOI is often lacking useful fields – eg precise location of grantee, their company number etc.  This will inform our work to help people publish more useful data and influence some aspects of the second sprint.

The second sprint, depending on the first will roughly look at what can be done with that database of standardised grants that will be useful to grant makers.  With Nominet Trust, NESTA and BIG Lottery, Indigo will give Aptivate purposeful, task orientated things to demonstrate with the data that will be genuinely useful to grant makers.

We shall write more about that soon, but suggestions are always welcome – what would you want to know from a database of around 200,000 grants from Lottery distributors, Wellcome, Technology Strategy Board and others covering the length and breadth of the UK?

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